Clemson: A History

Clemson Agricultural College was founded as an all-white, all-male, military school in 1889 under the state accepted of the Will of Thomas Green Clemson. It opened its doors with 446 students in 1893 and had its first graduating class in December 1896.

Tillman Hall was named after Benjamin Tillman in 1946. Tillman was a South Carolina governor and US senator who was one of the seven original trustees that had a fundamental impact on founding of Clemson thus he was honored with a building in his namesake. Tillman was also known to be an vocal white supremacist which has sparked ongoing controversy.

1955 was the first time that women were allowed as full time students at Clemson. Less than one hundred women enrolled for that first and all of them had to commute as there the first female dormitory was not built until later. Margaret Marie Snider was the first female to earn a degree from Clemson in 1957. Over the last sixty years, the percent of women on campus has slowly risen from around 3 percent to nearly half of the undergraduate body.

Harvey Gantt was the first African-American student enrolled in Clemson on January 28, 1963. He first applied in 1961 well after the Brown vs Board of Education decision. He was denied and instead attended Iowa State University with his out of state tuition subsided. After multiple attempts to apply, Gantt filed a lawsuit in 1962. On January 22, 1963, Judge Wyche of the Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit Court issued an order that Gantt be admitted to Clemson College. This ruling opened the doors for further integration and Clemson became the first pubic college in South Carolina to integrate. Today, Gantt remains honored at Clemson with the creation of the Harvey and Lucinda Multicultural Center.

Today is new time for Clemson when we are refusing to shy away from the shameful parts of our history. This historical maker was put up in a site that once held slave quarters. We now have student organizations, campus resources, diversity training, and advisory groups to a core effort to change from our past and promote an accepting place for people of all backgrounds.

Clemson University. Clemson History Timeline, 2016, http://www.clemson.edu/about/history/timeline.html. Accessed 24 November 2016.

The Clemson story. Clemson University, 2016, http://www.clemson.edu/about/history/. Accessed 24 November 2016.

Harvey Gantt and the Desegregation of Clemson University. Clemson University Office of Institutional Research, January 28, 2003, http://www.clemson.edu/oirweb1/FB/factbook/Historical%20Enrollment/Integration.htm. Accessed 24 November 2016.

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